Monday, January 26, 2009

The Route

That is the ramp at Big Trout Marina in Engelhard, NC.  No Cash, No Splash.  Nice little marina, well worth the $10 to launch.  The place is run by Hot Dog (I'll let you ask him where the name came from) and Edna Summerlin.  Nice folks.  They also run the cafe, that's the building off to the left.  Excellent breakfast and even better lunches.  The Big Trout Burger (hamburger, not fish) makes for a great meal.  I've launched out of there on two cruises.  That's where we'll start our trip in May.
Engelhard is a little over two hours from my home in Virginia.  We'll leave the house before dawn, have the boat rigged and in the water by 11.  Get a glass of ice tea in the cafe and cast off for Pamlico Sound.  I expect the first day's sail will be just a few hours down to Wysocking Bay.  Several good anchorages there.  Next day the plan is to sail southwest past Bluff Point and then turn due west, looking for a good anchorage in the Marsh Island/Swan Quarter Island/Judith Island area.  We'll continue west, leaving the sound and entering the wide Pamlico River.  That day or the next we'll reach Bath, the colonial capital of North Carolina and home to the famous Pirate Blackbeard.  I've heard there is a nice hotel there with a dock out on the creek.  Maybe a chance to clean up and have a nice dinner.  
From Bath we'll head southeast past Reed Hammock on the southern shore of Pamlico River and enter the intracoastal waterway.  If we are lucky with the wind we sail the first few miles south on the waterway, but as it narrows to a canal we'll drop sail and motor past Hobucken and down to the Bay River.  Time permitting we'll head west up the river and stop in at Vandemere.  I would like to meet Graham Byrnes of B and B Yacht Designs, the designer of the Core Sound 17, the Everglades Challenge 22 and several other boats.  I believe he currently holds the record for the Everglades Challenge.  I've exchanged a few emails with him and would like to meet him in person.
Leaving Vandemere and the Bay River we'll be back out on Pamlico Sound briefly before entering the wide Neuse River.  Good anchorages should be found near Broad Creek or further south at Old House Creek on the western shore of the river.  Eventually we'll sail in to Oriental, one of the nicest waterfront towns in North Carolina.  Again, a nice waterfront hotel and a nice meal.  Nothing wrong with a good hot shower.
The next few days we'll work our way up the Neuse River to New Bern.  We'll tie up there, rent a car and head back to Engelhard (about three hours away by car) and retrieve my jeep and trailer.  Back to New Bern, pick up Spartina and then head home to Chesapeake.

I can't wait.

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